Tech901 offers certified, diverse workers to the IT sector

Tech901, a Memphis nonprofit organization launched late last year, offers a variety of tech training in the community with an overall goal of increasing technology jobs in the city over the next 10 years.
Launched in 2015 by founders Robert Montague and Steve Denegri, Tech 901 is a non-profit aiming to accelerate the growth of tech careers in Memphis. Their goal is to increase the number of technology workers in Memphis to 10,000 by 2025 through a three-pronged approach of recruitment, training and career opportunities.
"Technology can be seen as a great equalizer and opens up a multitude of job opportunities for Memphians to improve themselves and their city," said Bekah McDuffie, Tech 901's Marketing Coordinator. "Tech jobs are in high demand, but there's a short supply of industry certified workers and a significant lack of diversity within the IT sector. Memphis has a lot to offer in attracting businesses to grow here with the low cost of living and ideal logistical location. Combine that with the diverse population of Memphis, and certified Tech901 graduates are the remedy to supply constraints." 
As for the education part of their approach, Tech901 recently wrapped up their first Summer A+ course at the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis with 38 Tech901 graduates. So far 17 of the Tech901 graduates have become A+ certified with more students taking the exam this month. 
This fall they are offering night courses in Information Technology Foundations at the University of Memphis' Fogleman School of Business. The course is a pre-requisite for the Tech901 Academy Fellow's classes and prepares participants for the CompTIA A+ certification exam. 
The Tech901 Academy's Fellow's program 2017 classes are currently open for enrollment. "We're looking for high school graduates, college students, IT professionals, career changers, anyone looking to better themselves and get set on the path towards a career in technology," explained McDuffie. "We are seeking highly capable students. After applying, there is a short assessment test to assess the student's educational foundation. The courses are low cost as we do not want the price to prohibit anyone from furthering their career and bettering their future."
Course offerings include Information Technology Foundations, Work Skills, Networking, Security, Cloud, and Management. All are intended to ready students for CompTIA certifications that make up Tech 901's Professional and Fellows programs. Those who complete Tech 901's certification are eligible for a $400 completion bonus.
Aside from their adult courses, Tech901 is partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Memphis to offer a free High School Computing Foundations course this fall. Open to students interested in pursuing a career in information technology, the course will teach the skills needed to earn industry-recognized certifications for tech careers. Participating students will have the opportunity to earn a stipend based on performance. 
In early 2017, Tech901 is headed to the Crosstown Concourse where they will have two classrooms and a co-project space.
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Amy Hoyt is High Ground News' Community Engagement Specialist, which suits her love of Memphis and its inhabitants.